Thursday, April 5, 2012
In 2005 Terry Drayman-Weisser was asked to help save fragile, damaged and deteriorating ancient ivories in Iraq. These ivories, considered some of the greatest treasures of ancient Mesopotamia, could not leave Iraq, and travel for Americans to Iraq at that time was too dangerous. So in 2006 two Iraqi conservators quietly arrived for training in the Walters conservation lab. This experience revealed to Drayman-Weisser the great need for conservation training in Iraq, where conservators had been isolated from their international professional colleagues during the rule of Saddam Hussein. When a request came from the State Department in 2008 to join a partnership to establish a conservation training institute in Iraq, and to consult on the refurbishment of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, Drayman-Weisser did not hesitate to accept. This talk will tell the story of the development of the Institute, as well as share personal observations about the challenges and rewards along the way.